Center to support the incubation of a new method developed by a farmer in Kerala to control pests in cashew gardens

The Center said on Monday it had adopted an innovative method to control pests in cashew gardens, developed by a Kerala-based farmer for the necessary support and incubation activities. The Kannur district farmer has developed an innovative “cashew multiple rooting propagation method” whereby multiple roots are generated in adult cashew trees, thereby improving production per unit area, he said.

It also helps in the ecological management of stem and root borers, restores productivity, provides a strong anchor against damage from wind / cyclonic storms and extends the life of plantations without the need for replanting. .

In a statement, the Ministry of Agriculture said: “A farmer in Kannur district, Kerala, has developed an innovative practice to develop supportive roots in cashew trees to protect her senile cashew garden from devastating driller attacks and frequent cyclonic storms.

The National Innovation Foundation – an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Science and Technology – adopted the innovative technology for the necessary support and incubation activities.

This new method has been verified by ICAR-Cashew Research Directorate, Puttur in Karnataka as well as Kerala University of Agriculture in 2020.

The method has been shown to provide “an anchor against damage from wind / cyclonic storms, and restores cashew trees from severe attacks from stalk and root cashew borers in a very environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner,” he said. the ministry said, added that the technology offers new hope for cashew growers with senile cashew gardens to realize an additional yield.

In 2014, during the cashew harvest, Aniyamma saw a cashew branch, which was in constant contact with the soil, generating adventitious roots (no taproot).

She noticed that the new plant emerging from this root is growing rapidly compared to a normal cashew plant.

The following year, a heavy infestation of stem borer (insect larva or arthropod, which burrows into the stems of plants) destroyed the mother plant, but the newly developed plant was healthy and was not affected by stem borer infestation.

By observing the rooting and development of new plants from the mother plant, she thought she would develop new plants by wrapping a bag filled with potting soil over the nodes of the lower parallel branches.

She guided the new root down to the ground using a hollow areca nut stem, while adding weight to the branches near the ground and covering them with soil for rooting.

“Her two experiments were successful and she has been using these two methods in her former senile cashew plantations for 7 years to support her family with a continuous supply of high-cashew products,” said the ministry said.

The two different methods used by the innovator include the cylindrical shape method, in which a bag filled with potting mix (soil and cow dung) is tied to the lower cashew branches growing parallel to the ground.

The new roots of the old ones are guided through a hollow areca nut stem filled with soil and cow dung to the ground. Within a year, these roots develop and add to the cashew root network, which acts as an additional channel for the plant to absorb nutrients and water and improve yield.

Under the low parallel branch method, the ministry said the innovator piled stones around the nodes of the lower branches and covered them with earth and cow dung. Rooting occurs at these points, and then this branch grows as a new tree while still being part of the main tree.

Cashew cultivation is undertaken in India on about 10.11 lakh hectares, the highest among all the cashew producing countries. The total annual production is around 7.53 lakh tonnes and many farmers depend on it for their livelihood.

However, cashew production is hampered by several biotic and abiotic factors. The stem and root borer is one of the most debilitating pests because it is able to kill even mature trees in a short period of time.

Besides pest infestations, cashew plantations on the Indian coast are affected by frequent intense cyclones, and each of these devastations takes more than 10 years to restore.